Seeker-Sensitive or Seeker-Serious?
God’s Word is Piercing
I’ve come to understand and experience that reading the Bible daily brings great joy.
I’ve come to know in part what King David meant when he wrote that God’s precepts rejoice the heart (Psalm 19:8). I’ve also experienced what the writer of Hebrews said about the Bible when they wrote that the “Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.” (Hebrews 4:12) I can honestly say that reading God’s Word rejoices my heart through it’s life and sharpness.
Of course it’s not the literal book itself that’s alive and sharp, but it’s the truths expressed in the story of the Bible that pierce mind, heart, and soul.
But something else pierces deep. Have you ever compromised on God’s truth in the Bible because you were scared of what others may think? Have you felt that piercing conviction that comes from compromising?
We’ve often heard about seeker-sensitive Churches. Those are Churches that attempt to “do” and “say” certain things (or not do/say) in order to be sensitive to the minds and hearts of seekers. Churches don’t only do this, but individual Christians as well. Many Christians will live seeker-sensitive lives – downplaying insensitive beliefs and making other beliefs attractive. Churches and individual Christians will live these “seeker-sensitive” lives because they either are trying to gain more people/friends, or they’re nervous of looking/sounding a certain way.
My challenge (and I’m speaking to myself here) is to deny the seeker-sensitive life, and embrace the seeker-serious one. The seeker-serious life doesn’t downplay any biblical truth, and doesn’t care too much about reputation. The seeker-serious Christian loves Jesus and the seeker so much that he/she presents Jesus and His gospel exactly how it’s displayed in the Bible.
If you’re like me, you think Yes! I want to live like that! But quickly we’ll realize something. Despite our personal experience in gaining joy from the Bible, and our willingness to live as a seeker-serious Christian, many of us struggle with one thing: the fear of man.
One reason why we can shy away from what the Bible says is because we’re scared of what people will say about us. We’re scared of being viewed a certain way and lumped into “those” kinds of Christians. So it really has nothing to do with the essential nature of the biblical truths, but more to do with how those truths grind against culture.
The question we all have to ask ourselves is this: will we believe in the truths exposed and expressed in the story of the Bible? And even more, will we faithfully present those truths to seekers?
One of my favourite stories of God’s Word piercing the heart’s of people is found in Acts 2:14-41. Peter, along with 120 other disciples, were gathered in a room in Jerusalem, praying and worshipping God with one another. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit entered every one of them as Jesus had said. This lively group now talked, thought, walked, and acted as if God Himself lived in them, because, well, He did! Quickly people saw this “celebration” and mistook it for a rowdy drunken party. Upon being falsely accused, Peter stood up among the onlookers and preached the first sermon in the early Church. It was powerful, convicting, knowledgeable, seeped in Scripture, and gospel-centred.
How did people respond?
“Now when [the listeners] heard this they were cut to the heart.” (Acts 2:37)
They then asked Peter what they should do? Peter responded by telling them to repent and be baptized – in other words, confess your sin to God, turn towards Him, and publicly declare that He is Lord and Saviour of your entire life.
How many people came to know Jesus that day? Three thousand.
Why so many? Peter preached biblical truth. He definitely did not shy away from it, but preached it boldly. He faithfully presented the biblical truths expressed in the Scriptures. Because he did not compromise based on saving his reputation, the hearers were “cut to the heart.” And it’s only when we’re cut and pierced that we’ll change.
Peter was seeker-serious. He was serious about the life of Christ and the gospel, and serious about the lives of the thousands of unbelievers.
So, if you’re like me and have experienced the joy of reading the Bible and learning the truths of Jesus and the gospel, then you’ve most likely felt the piercing conviction of both those truths and compromising on those truths. However, if you focus not on your reputation but rather on love, you’ll experience more joy than ever before.
Strive to live as a seeker-serious Christian today, not a seeker-sensitive one.